Google Maps has this thing where it lets you know if an attraction is “good for kids.” Not sure exactly how well this works, as I found this while looking for things to do with my kids in Turin:
Always useful when traveling.
It’s always fun to go to the local grocery stores when you’re on vacation in another country. I make sure to bring my camera each time. On the most recent Italian trip, I noticed the names of food in the pet aisle. It’s always interesting to see what other countries use as names for cat food. Here were 2 of my favorites:
Of course, I have yet to find a country to beat the greatest Swedish cat food name of all:
(Side note: Unfortunately, by the time we got a cat, the company became aware and changed its name.)
We saw a beach in Italy last week for dogs. It was called Bau Bau Beach. This was one of the greatest ideas I’d seen. There were dog bowls and dog showers everywhere, a roped off part of the beach for the dogs to play in the water, and instead of chairs and umbrellas to rent, you could rent a tiny yard with a white picket fence for your dog to play (also with chairs and umbrellas for humans).
At one point, the idea was brought up for a beach for cats, but we quickly dismissed that as it would just be a giant litter box and cats hate water.
Just back from a 3-week long trip to Italy. Wonderful time, beautiful scenery and excellent food! Why do we keep going to Italy? Well, as you see from this sign:
Italy is the most beautiful country in the world.
This is not an opinion, there are incontrovertible numbers that prove it.
We are currently on vacation in Italy (yes, I wrote this weeks ago – thanks “schedule feature”!
While we are in Italy, we will be taking a road that passes by these two towns. I imagine many conversations in the area go like this:
“I live in Carrodano.”
“Oh! Which one?”
“Uh, the one a little further down the road.”
On the podcast about expats in Sweden today, we talk to a couple of Italians, mainly about food of course, but also about language and some great summer tips in Stockholm!
Available anywhere you get your podcast by just typing “Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow”
or at these links:
iTunes – https://tinyurl.com/y4oo8zz9
Spotify – https://tinyurl.com/y4kxw4qj
Podtoppen – https://tinyurl.com/y6xntddl
As we rode through yet another small Italian town, my oldest son asked, “How come all of these towns have groups of old men just sitting around together all day? What are they doing?”
“What do you think they’re doing?”
“Probably complaining about the modern world.”
Why does renting a car have to be such a procedure? If we already booked the car and filled in all of our information on the computer, why do we still have to fill it out AGAIN on paper once we get to the rental counter? Isn’t that what the computer was for? Check my license and give me my keys!
That’s just a general rant about every time we rent a car. In Italy, you can imagine how slow the paperwork is, mostly because they are marking all the damages that are ALREADY on the vehicle.
After being talked into a good deal for full coverage insurance on our rental car (and taking 15 minutes to fill out paperwork that was already in the computer), we made our way to the garage to pick up the car. Knowing that they don’t always mark every dent and scratch, we checked the car and found two scratches to report so that we would not be responsible once we were done with the car.
My husband went to report the scratches to the attendant, who was very reluctant to move from his chair. He took a look at the paperwork, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Is no problem. Who cares? You have full coverage. Run the car into a wall if you like.”
Our motto for the rest of the trip, while driving down narrow streets full of potholes was “Oh well – FULL COVERAGE!”
As I mentioned before, my husband and I took a 4-day long anniversary trip to Italy this past weekend. With only 4 days, we wanted every minute to count, which turned out to be a problem when the Italians decided to strike at the Rome airport. Our plane was delayed 3 hours until they could confirm landing clearance, so we were given vouchers for food (that worked in every restaurant except the specific one we went to, of course), and boarded our plane later in the afternoon.
Once the plane finished boarding and the doors were closed, it needed to be de-iced. The de-icing truck began to do its job and then ran out of de-icing liquid. We had to wait 20 minutes for another de-icing truck.
Finally, the de-icing was complete and it was time for the plane to be pushed back from the gate. We slowly moved backwards and then stopped after just a few feet. The truck pushing the plane broke down and we had to wait 20 minutes for a replacement truck.
The flight went smoothly after all the delays and we landed at Rome’s Fiumicino airport … only to wait on the tarmac an additional 20 minutes because of a plane in front of us.
My husband and I celebrated our 18th anniversary in the town of Bracciano, Italy over the weekend. While there, we visited the 15th century castle that towers over the town. It’s one of the most impressive castles in Italy and luckily it’s open to the public. Each room has a plaque with information, so one can learn about the furniture, portraits, or the people who stayed in the rooms.
One of the most “interesting” rooms was that of Isabella de-Medici. Isabella was rumored to push her lovers through a wooden door to the side of her bed when she was done with them, where they fell into a pit of blades and lye.
There were couples in the tour group in front of us that stopped to pose for smiling pictures with their arms around each other in front of the bed with the door in the background. My husband and I skipped that particular photo opportunity.
We had a slight bit of a scorpion problem while renting an apartment in Italy last week. However, I still prefer scorpions to giant Texas tree roaches. Scorpions somehow seem more sophisticated.
Because of my respect for the majestic scorpion, I chose to catch and release the two we found by throwing them out of our third floor window.
It was only later that I remembered there was a restaurant with outdoor seating directly below us.
I looked up reviews on a children’s activity park in Italy, but everything was in Italian so I had to use Google Translate. I don’t know why this person only gave this place 2 stars. It sounds pretty interesting!
I’ve made a family fun guide to Venice in case anyone’s looking to convince their family that this is the place to go!
While we were in Italy, we heard the news about the Chicago Cubs World Series win on the radio. Of course, it took us a while to figure it out since the Italian announcer congratulated the “Chicago Cubes.”
We’ve been in Italy the past week, offline and relaxing.
People ask me, “Why are you always going to Italy?”
I think you can see here just why Italy is so great:
Italy is now handing out fines to people who hog beach space by setting up umbrellas and towels overnight in order to have prime space in the morning, or people who take up way too much space with empty towels and chairs waiting on friends who may not be coming for hours.
Article here: http://tinyurl.com/j6ylopj
I think this is a great policy!
The next move is to extend these fines to school performances. Every year at my youngest son’s Christmas and End-of-School performances, parents fight like they’re trying to board a RyanAir plane to get the best seats and then proceed to throw jackets over about 5 other chairs for grandmothers, aunts and angry teenagers who didn’t even want to come in the first place.
Didn’t we learn this lesson back in elementary school as students? No saving seats! If a 5-year old can understand, so can a 35-year old.
I say, a €200 fine for each seat with a jacket thrown over it, plus that family has to make all the snacks for the next performance.
This was in our local grocery store while we were in Italy:
Before our recent Italy trip, I browsed the internet for good restaurants in the area we would be staying. I found one place with great reviews on TripAdvisor. However, I don’t recall seeing the words “40 minute uphill pilgrimage” in the description.
We found the address and a sign for the restaurant that pointed up some steps. We started up the stairs and then began climbing the trail up a mountain into a forest. We met people on the way who said, “Oh yeah, it’s just up there”.
Forty minutes later, starving and thirsty, we made it to the top. The food was good, but as my son said, “Not good enough for that climb.”
Personally, I think it’s all a scam to sell more drinks.
Below is a picture of my sons after walking up a mountain 40 minutes:
We’ve just returned from a week long trip in northeast Italy. One of the highlights of the trip was a restaurant/amusement park called Ai Pioppi. Ai Pioppi is an amusement park built in the woods by a man who runs an outdoor restaurant. Nothing is electric – it’s all run by kinetic energy. There are rollercoasters and slides that go above the trees! It’s kind of scary but exciting. Don’t worry – all rides meet “Italian Safety Standards”! Which means you may come out covered in bruises like our son did, but it’s totally worth it!
Here’s an article about the place. It would never be allowed with all the lawsuits in the U.S., but I’m glad it’s in Italy because it’s awesome!- http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/10/ai-pioppi-kinetic-carnival/